Taking baby steps

Young Crimson Bears split with Kings, sweep Wolves in dual meets

Posted: Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears expected to take some lumps early in the high school wrestling season.

With a freshman- and sophomore-laden team, the Crimson Bears were going to have to keep improving so that by the end of the season, they would be winning matches they lost earlier in the year.

This weekend, the young Juneau wrestlers showed that sometimes all they need is a day to show that improvement. The Crimson Bears posted a 3-1 record in a series of Region V-Class 4A triple-dual meets, winning both of their meets on Saturday against Sitka and Ketchikan after splitting on Friday. Sitka posted a 2-2 mark during the weekend, while defending region champion Ketchikan went 1-3 at the JDHS main gym.

"We're making baby steps in the right direction," Juneau coach Kris Mercer said. "It was a lot of little things that made the difference. ... I'm real happy. Our goal was to beat Ketchikan this weekend, and we did."

Juneau saved its best for last, as the Crimson Bears edged Ketchikan 33-32 in Saturday's finale, one day after losing 38-33. The Crimson Bears swept Sitka, winning 42-29 on Saturday and 33-24 on Friday. The Wolves swept Ketchikan, beating the Kings 42-29 on Saturday and 45-25 on Friday.

In Saturday's finale, the younger Juneau wrestlers were able to avoid some of the losses by pin that hurt the team score on Friday. That kept the team score close, giving Juneau's strong lightweight wrestlers a chance to make up a lot of ground. Also, the Crimson Bears were able to get a wrestler back who didn't make weight on Friday, so they didn't give up the six points for a forfeit loss.

Saturday's matches started at 140 pounds in the weight-class sequence, and Juneau struggled in the middleweight matches so Ketchikan was able to take leads of 14-0 through the 152-pound match and 22-6 through 189. But even as the Crimson Bears fell behind, there were little victories. A couple of wrestlers who were pinned Friday lost by major decisions on Saturday, a difference of two team points.

And one of the bigger breakthroughs came at 160 pounds, where John Kuterbach rebounded from a 22-15 decision loss to Ketchikan's Houston Laws on Friday to pin Laws in the third period of Saturday's match.

"I'm more confident now, because I'd been losing before," said Kuterbach, who said he lost energy Friday trying to make weight but was able to eat and regain the energy on Saturday. "This was a good way to end it."

Juneau picked up a pair of forfeit victories in the two heavyweight divisions, and the lightweights came through with a couple of wins by pin. The Crimson Bears took a 30-28 lead when Jordan Saceda pinned Ketchikan's Karl Leitz 23 seconds into the 125-pound match, and senior Dennis Hall gave Juneau a five-point advantage when he won a decision over Adam Gregg in his 130-pound match.

That left the 135-pound match to decide the dual meet. Ketchikan's Rafael Ramirez-Ruiz, who is ranked fifth in the state, needed to get a technical fall or a pin against Juneau sophomore Clinton Clark to give the Kings the team victory. On Friday, Ramirez-Ruiz pinned Juneau freshman Garret Cox at 140 pounds to give Ketchikan the win.

Ramirez-Ruiz quickly got a takedown and flipped Clark onto his back to earn a three-point near fall, but Clark was able to escape the hold and avoid the pin. Ramirez-Ruiz had Clark on his back once more in the third period, earning a two-point near fall, but Clark again escaped and avoided the pin. Ramirez-Ruiz eventually won a 14-4 major decision, but the four team points weren't enough to catch Juneau.

"I was hoping we'd win, but I knew as long as I didn't get pinned we'd win," Clark said. "We had to beat Ketchikan. It doesn't matter if we win by an inch or a mile, winning's winning."

Another young wrestler to make a breakthrough for Juneau was freshman Samson Keeney, who pinned Ketchikan's Ian White at 189 pounds on Friday after trailing most of the match. Keeney lost to White on Saturday by a decision, but he was happy about Friday's victory. Juneau trailed 20-0 in the team standings when Keeney beat White on Friday, and his victory started a run by the Crimson Bears that gave them the lead until Ketchikan pulled out the victory at the end.

"He made a few mistakes and I made a few mistakes, and that's how we arrived at the position we were in," Keeney said of his pinning move. "He had another mistake and I took advantage. It helps a lot when you win like that, because it jump starts the team a little bit."

Two of the highlight matches for the weekend were at 112 pounds, when Ketchikan's David Mann wrestled Juneau's Gerry Carrillo in a battle between top-ranked wrestlers. Mann won last year's state title at 103 and this year is ranked No. 1 in the state at 112 pounds, while Carrillo is ranked No. 1 in the state at 103 this year.

Mann won a 3-0 decision on Friday and a 5-0 decision on Saturday, but Carrillo said the losses will help him when he drops back to 103 pounds next week. He also said they'd help Juneau's third-ranked 112-pounder Sungie Musarra, who wrestled at 119 this week, because Musarra was able to watch and see what worked with Mann.

"I was trying to wear him down, but today he was too strong," Carrillo said of Mann. "I thought I wrestled better on Friday. I think this is the last time I'll wrestle 112 this season, and Sungie will beat him next time."

Saceda went undefeated for the weekend at 125 pounds, winning all four of his matches. And, because of where he happened to be in the weight class progression, all four of his victories put Juneau in the lead against Sitka and Ketchikan. Saceda said his favorite victory came Friday when he pinned Sitka's Lucas Chambers.

"I was sick the last time I wrestled here (at the Brandon Pilot Invitational) and I could really tell the difference," Saceda said. "I was wrestling the same people. I felt so good beating Chambers."

The weekend was the final time for two Juneau seniors to see action in front of the home crowd. Dennis Hall won all four of his matches at 130 pounds, despite being sick. Patrick Lumba lost a 7-5 decision to Sitka heavyweight Tyler Holmlund on Saturday, one day after being pinned by him.

"That's a pretty good accomplishment this weekend," Hall said of Saturday's team victory over Ketchikan. "It'll be interesting if we meet them again, because we'll be at different weights. The only thing I have to say about senior night is it's over with."

"That was my best match ever with him," Lumba said of Saturday's loss to Holmlund. "He's pinned me twice. I'm happy."

The Crimson Bears are on the road the rest of the season, and will head to the West Anchorage Christmas tournament next weekend.

• Charles Bingham can be reached at cbingham@juneauempire.com.


Results from a two-day series of triple-dual meets between the Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears, the Ketchikan Kings and Sitka Wolves held Friday and Saturday at Juneau-Douglas High School. The dual meets all started at 145 pounds in the weight-class progression on Friday and at 140 pounds on Saturday.




145 pounds - Jes Boyd (K) pin. Matt Barry (JD), 3:18. 152 - Iain Brown (K) pin. Chase Thomas (JD), 4:12. 160 - Houston Laws (K) dec. John Kuterbach (JD), 22-15. 171 - Zach Thompson (K) tech. fall Tyler Casperson-Zimmerman (JD), 19-4, 6:00. 189 - Samson Keeney (JD) pin. Ian White (K), 5:07. 215 - Jake Ritter (JD), win by forfeit. 275 - Alika Bradley (JD), win by forfeit. 103 - Nick Fama (K), win by forfeit. 112 - David Mann (K) dec. Gerry Carrillo (JD), 3-0. 119 - Sungie Musarra (JD), pin. Adam Thompson (K), 1:51. 125 - Jordan Saceda (JD) pin. Karl Leitz (K), 3:26. 130 - Dennis Hall (JD) dec. Adam Gregg (K), 5-0. 135 - Marcus Robecker (K) dec. Clinton Clark (JD), 4-2. 140 - Rafael Ramirez-Ruiz (K) pin. Garret Cox (JD), 4:40.


145 pounds - Jes Boyd (K) pin. Thomas Hovland (S), 2:38. 152 - Dylan Bergman (S) pin. Iain Brown (K), 1:48. 160 - Anthony Haskins (S) pin. Cub Finney (K), 0:46. 171 - Zach Thompson (K) maj. dec. Justin Albee (S), 14-4. 189 - Chance Allen (S) pin. Ian White (K), 0:34. 215 - Jake LaDuke (S), win by forfeit. 275 - Tyler Holmlund (S), win by forfeit. 103 - Nick Fama (K), win by forfeit. 112 - David Mann (K) pin. Steve Poitra (S), 4:52. 119 - Jim Jurczak (S) maj. dec. Adam Thompson (K), 13-2. 125 - Lucas Chambers (S) tech. fall Karl Leitz (K), 16-0, 4:19. 130 - Hank Derenoff (S) dec. Adam Gregg (K), 9-3. 135 - Marcus Robecker (K) dec. Alex Dailey (S), 7-0. 140 - Ty Wagner (S) dec. Rafael Ramirez-Ruiz (K), 11-9.


145 pounds - Matt Barry (JD) dec. Thomas Hovland (S), 6-4 (Sitka deducted one team point, unsportsmanlike conduct penalty). 152 - Jason Koelling (S) maj. dec. Chase Thomas (JD), 16-3. 160 - Anthony Haskins (S) dec. John Kuterbach (JD), 6-3. 171 - Justin Albee (S) dec. Tyler Casperson-Zimmerman (JD), 13-7. 189 - Chance Allen (S) pin. Samson Keeney (JD), 3:05. 215 - Jake Ritter (JD) dec. Jake LaDuke (S), 9-2. 275 - Tyler Holmlund (S) dec. Alika Bradley (JD), 8-1. 103 - Double forfeit (no team points). 112 - Gerry Carrillo (JD) pin. Steve Poitra (S), 5:03. 119 - Sungie Musarra (JD) dec. Jim Jurczak (S), 7-3. 125 - Jordan Saceda (JD) pin. Lucas Chambers (S), 1:52. 130 - Dennis Hall (JD) pin. Hank Deneroff (S), 3:54. 135 - Clinton Clark (JD) pin. Alex Dailey (S), 5:10. 140 - Ty Wagner (S) pin. Garret Cox (JD), 1:32.


119 pounds - Steve Poitra (K) pin. Logan Spencer (JD), 0:49. 152 - Houston Laws (K) maj. dec. Matt Way (S), 22-9. 275 - Tyler Holmlund (S) pin. Patrick Lumba (JD), 4:30. 125 - Hank Derenoff (S) pin. Jeremy Minshall (K), 3:44. 112 - Noel Nicholas (S) pin. Aaron Benson (K), 2:25. 112 - Nick Fama (K) dec. Steve Poitra (S), 12-10. 135 - James Gillian (K) tech. fall Liam Campbell (JD), 15-0, 6:00. 112 - Chad Carson (JD) pin. Aaron Benson (K), 0:35. 152 - Matt Way (S) tech. fall Rodrigo Ramirez-Ruiz (K), 15-0, 3:58. 130 - Hank Derenoff (S) maj. dec. Joardan Savland (JD), 14-4.




140 pounds - Ty Wagner (S) dec. Rafael Ramirez-Ruiz (K), 8-7. 145 - Jes Boyd (K) maj. dec. Thomas Hovland (S), 10-0. 152 - Dylan Bergman (S) tech. fall Iain Brown (K), 20-4, 5:25. 160 - Anthony Haskins (S) maj. dec. Houston Laws (K), 12-4. 171 - Zach Thompson (K) maj. dec. Justin Albee (S), 11-2. 189 - Jake LaDuke (S) pin. Ian White (K), 1:42. 215 - Chance Allen (S), win by forfeit. 275 - Tyler Holmlund (S), win by forfeit. 103 - Nick Fama (K), win by forfeit. 112 - David Mann (K) pin. Steve Poitra (S), 3:13. 119 - Lucas Chambers (S) pin. Adam Thompson (K), 2:45. 125 - Jim Jurczak (S) pin. Karl Leitz (K), 4:49. 130 - Adam Gregg (K) dec. Hank Derenoff (S), 7-3. 135 - Marcus Robecker (K) pin. Alex Dailey (S), 3:10.


140 pounds - Ty Wagner (S) pin. Garret Cox (JD), 4:36. 145 - Matt Barry (JD) dec. Thomas Hovland (S), 3-1. 152 - Jason Koelling (S) maj. dec. Chase Thomas (JD), 14-3. 160 - Dylan Bergman (S) maj. dec. John Kuterbach (JD), 25-11. 171 - Justin Albee (S) pin. Tyler Casperson-Zimmerman (JD), 3:43. 189 - Jake LaDuke (S) pin. Samson Keeney (JD), 1:08. 215 - Jake Ritter (JD) pin. Chance Allen (S), 2:46. 275 - Tyler Holmlund (S) dec. Patrick Lumba (JD), 7-5. 103 - Dante Santos (JD), win by forfeit. 112 - Gerry Carrillo (JD) pin. Steve Poitra (S), 2:57. 119 - Sungie Musarra (JD) pin. Lucas Chambers (S), 3:32. 125 - Jordan Saceda (JD) dec. Jim Jurczak (S), 30-29. 130 - Dennis Hall (JD) win by injury default over Hank Derenoff (S), second period, shoulder injury. 135 - Clinton Clark (JD) pin. Alex Dailey (S), 3:53.


140 pounds - Marcus Robecker (K) maj. dec. Garret Cox (JD), 10-1. 145 - Jes Boyd (K) pin. Matt Barry (JD), 0:54. 152 - Iain Brown (K) maj. dec. Chase Thomas (JD), 16-4. 160 - John Kuterbach (JD) pin. Houston Laws (JD), 5:17. 171 - Zach Thompson (K) tech. fall Tyler Casperson-Zimmerman (JD), 15-0, 4:16. 189 - Ian White (K) dec. Samson Keeney (JD), 12-6. 215 - Jake Ritter (JD), win by forfeit. 275 - Alika Bradley (JD), win by forfeit. 103 - Nick Fama (K) dec. Dante Santos (JD), 11-4. 112 - David Mann (K) dec. Gerry Carrillo (JD), 5-0. 119 - Sungie Musarra (JD) pin. Adam Thompson (K), 1:21. 125 - Jordan Saceda (JD) pin. Karl Leitz (K), 0:23. 130 - Dennis Hall (JD) dec. Adam Gregg (K), 5-4. 135 - Rafael Ramirez-Ruiz (K) maj. dec. Clinton Clark (JD), 14-4.


112 pounds - Chad Carson (JD) pin. Noel Nicholas (S), 2:45. 152 - Matt Way (S) pin. Dogakan Bilgiser (K), 0:24. 125 - Joardan Savland (JD) dec. Jeremy Minshall (K), 8-4. 145 - Thomas Hovland (S) dec. Rodrigo Ramirez-Ruiz (K), 5-1. 112 - Aaron Benson (K) pin. Noel Nicholas (S), 3:47. 152 - Jason Koelling (S) pin. Cub Finney (K), 1:25. 189 - Ian White (K) pin. Luis Highley (JD), 0:53. 135 - James Gillian (K) dec. Alex Dailey (S), 9-7. 145 - Liam Campbell (JD) pin. Dogakan Bilgiser (K), 3:31.

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